Hurricane Irma back as Category 3

Sept. 3 (UPI) — Hurricane Irma regained its status as a major Category 3 storm early Sunday but its impact on the Eastern United States remains uncertain.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 945 miles east of the islands of Barbuda and Antigua as of 5 a.m. EDT. As of the Sunday morning advisory update, Irma boasted top winds of 115 miles per hour and was moving west-southwest at 15 miles an hour.

Through Monday night, some additional strengthening is expected. Center forecaster Robbie Berg said in a discussion “while Irma is currently a small hurricane, the size guidance suggests it should grow in size during the next 72 hours.”

Hurricane-force winds extend outward from Irma up to 25 miles, but no coastal warnings are currently in effect.

The “cone,” or predicted path, puts the eye of the storm near the southeast’ern Bahamas at 2 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Hurricane forecaster Dan Brown cautioned, “Don’t infer too much from where the end of the cone is pointed.”

Irma is still several days away from the eastern perimeter of the Caribbean.

“It is much too early to determine what direct impacts Irma will have on the Bahamas and the continental United States,” Berg said. “Regardless, everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the season.”

Irma became the ninth named Atlantic storm of the season on Wednesday, following Hurricane Harvey.

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